The Saora Origin of life Myth - Anugunj

September 30, 2011

'Anugunj' - a travelling exhibition based on myths and folk beliefs of India has been organised in the National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi 
from 15 Sep 2011 to 11 Oct 2011. 

To know more about the 'Anugunj' click here and on the pic below

Saora Origin Myth - See from top extreme left

The Saora Origin Myth originates from Shrikakulam, Andhra Pradesh (India).  According to this,  in the beginning, there existed on earth just two creatures- an eagle and an insect inhabiting a dried gourd.  The eagle gave birth to the whole animal kingdom and the insect to the first man and woman who in turn bore two sons and two daughters.  Out of the various tools fashioned by their father, the elder sons choose only the hoe and preferred the rock and his descendants came to be called the Saoras.  The younger son on the other hand inherited the fertile soil along with all the implements, thus becoming ancestors to all other castes.


National Museum, New Delhi - Anugunj

September 29, 2011
'Anugunj' - a travelling exhibition based on myths and folk beliefs of India has been organised in the National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi 
from 15 Sep 2011 to 11 Oct 2011. 

Here is a glimpse of the exhibition and the Museum in general:

The main entrance to National Museum

The path just outside the ticket counter leading to the main halls

The view of the circular corridor created in the middle of the building

Enlarge the pic to read the details about Anugunj

The entrance to the exhibition

A picture exhibited 

Although, visit to the National Museum is absolutely worth it for any inquisitive person, but I was a little disappointed by the exhibition, which occupied only one large hall of the huge museum.  I had expected a bigger and more inclusive affair.  

In India, we know that myths, legends, folk lore, even superstitions are an intrinsic part of the day to day life - whether you are rich or poor, belong to urban or rural India, you can't be untouched by some belief.

Therefore, I had expected a more exhaustive list with a proper categorization - either chronologically, or region/state wise or based on broad subjects.  But, it was a picture exhibition, with just 2 or 3 objects and all other pictures on display, and was not really categorized in any way.

Nevertheless, it was a unique effort.  I hope that in the coming times, we may witness a more elaborate version of the exhibition.

I shall be posting all the pictures and the relevant myth or legend attached with it in the next posts.

Stay there!


What do you mean by a 'Slut'??

September 26, 2011
I hope you remember that Delhi witnessed the much talked about 'Slut Walk' in July 2011.  The title had some how been toned down by adding 'Arthat Besharmi Morcha' (means Shameless Walk). I think this was necessary.  Keeping in view the societal norms, it was wise to clarify what was it all about.

It's good that technology is being used to garner support for a common cause.  It's technology which is spreading word far and wide.  But, we must try and customize things as per our society, our cultural sensitivity.

Although I support this or any cause which talks of a good social change.  But in the same breath, I don't think the word 'SLUT' had anything to do with it.

As you know that it started in Canada, where a police officer said in a speech to university students "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." It was surely unfair on this man's part to make such a comment, as he put the whole blame on the girl who doesn't dress appropriately.

What is the appropriate dress?

Isn't it different for different countries?  Forget about countries.  Even within a country like India, where the urban- rural divide is so huge that we cannot bring out a uniform code.  Now this whole issue gives birth to  a few questions.

Secondly the use of the word 'slut' doesn't hold the same meaning here in India.  It's meaning and perception is derogatory and could have been avoided.

Having said that, i checked the meaning and am writing my perception of the word also.

"A promiscuous female is sometimes pejoratively called a slut, while a promiscuous male is glamorized with names such as 'stud', 'ladies' man', etc"

Do you see the contrast? I'm sure you do!  This is the first reason why 'slut' could have been avoided.  The fight could have been on not being looked down upon by the society, in case a woman chooses to have intimate consensual relationship with men.   

My perception of the word 'Slut' -  was a 'prostitute'.  I'm sure many readers would agree that if they didn't check up the dictionary, they would believe that slut means a prostitute. 

For this reason as well, the word must have been avoided.  Because, even a prostitute is in a profession.  No girl can be in such a profession out of choice, rather most often than not, she would be forced to sell her body for money, which may be needed by her family.  So before carrying placards or making your body a canvas to write "SLUT" on it, it's better to think about it first.  Are you not insulting another set of women, in order to achieve your goal?

Thirdly, what I've understood of the the whole scenario is that "slut' word has been used to first soften down the meaning, by making it a slang.  What purpose does it solve, I wonder?  We all know how the word 'bitch' has lost its derogatory tone in last 10 years or so.  It was shocking for me 2 years back to hear two giggling teenager girls calling 'bitch' to each other.  We now know, it doesn't hurt that much.

Are we trying to do the same to "slut"? Can you find any reason? let me know!

Fourthly, I read the views of an author that, the shock which is intended by using such a word in our conservative society is intentional.  It's a rebellion of the social nature.  When you want to shock your people, you do it by doing something weird.  Remember that young girl of India, who paraded in her undergarments to the police station to report about her in-laws who were harassing her? 

Somehow, it didn't shock me.  It kind of left me thinking that a little more indigenisation  could have been done to the word 'slut' for this walk against the social evil of blaming the victim as the catalyst of the crime thrust upon her.

I support the cause wholeheartedly.  And I wish that this article may be read when this event is organized in other places in India.  If possible, pl share it.


'Afterwards' - The story after THE end

September 19, 2011
I just finished reading this book called "Afterwards" by Jaishree Misra, while lazing around on my break from work for a few days. I don't really write a review of a book, but do want to write about it in my blog.

'Afterwards' is the story which begins when we have happily concluded one.  'Afterwards' begins where the flow of a river pours itself into an ocean and we believe it's all over;  the journey of the river is over.  But, then we get know it's not... this novel is the story of the journey afterwards.

The story:

A simple and beautiful woman Maya, deeply unhappy with her possessive  and well to do husband, wants to run away from this life and seeks support from a young man who has just shifted to her neighbourhood.  Rahul, the young man whose love for Mridangam brings her to Kerala for vacation (and of course he wants to give himself a breather from her breakup from an non-understanding girl friend).  Smitten by the beauty of his neighbour, Rahul can't resist spending time with Maya and her little daughter Anjali, visiting monuments and eating together.  But soon, he realises that the beautiful eyes bore deep sadness within them.  Maya's husband was too possessive for her comfort, so she wants to run away along with her daughter.  She was helpless as she had no support from her parents or parents in law.

Rahul, after initial confusion, agrees to help her and takes Maya and Anjali to UK, where he was working and settled.  Maya was disowned by her parents and her death rites were performed by her parents. But, away from the preening eyes of  their Indian relatives and friends, they lived together happily in UK.  Maya and Anjali adjusted to the new life easily and Maya began to work for an NGO for women.  They lived happily....... ever after.....I wish they lived liked that forever.  But the story begins at this point.

No, there is no conflict between the two, neither Maya's husband nor Rahul's mother landed up there to be a spoil sport.  But destiny turned their world upside down. That is what the story 'afterwards' is.

 My thoughts and opinion :

There are just two things which disappoint me about this novel.

First, the story- which is hardly a reality in Indian context.  And second, a woman author speaking from the character of a man, which didn't do any justice to it.

All in all, this was like a beautiful fairy tale! A fantasy of a young girl tied down by the social and moral bondages, who chooses to set herself free in her imagination.  This story can give hope to any Indian girl, suffering in her marriage helplessly that there is a 'Prince Charming', who will come one day and take her along to a new, unseen and wonderful world.  

It was very simplistic of the author to think that a man would ever think of eloping with a married woman with a 1-2 year old daughter, and that too when the lady has no money or jewellery or a degree to support herself and on top of all that when the man is not even in love with her! 

First of all, running away with another man's wife itself calls for a lot of courage.... or stupidity.  And since when possessiveness and possessiveness alone is cruelty in Indian marriages?  May be the Supreme Court says so, but the ground reality is that with women being more competitive now a days and men still standing where they were 10 years back are generally possessive about their women, say it or hide it!

And parents not supporting their daughter if she wants to leave her husband.... sounds familiar, right?!  Yes, that happens all the time... in the huge bungalows to the small rented houses, that happens always.

Had Maya taken the legal course, she would have been better off.... even time proved that.

Secondly, as I said, when a woman speaks from a man's mouth, she generally does not do justice.  A man's thought process, perception, expressions, ways of expressing love, calculation in practical matters and reactions to situation is far different from a woman's.  It goes without saying.  I felt all the time that it was a woman speaking with that hoarse voice of a man!  

Was it intentional or by error that the author forgot to tell the reader how and when Maya fell in love with Rahul?  How a possessive husband suddenly fizzled out and never ever tried to find her wife... and became a lamenting grief stricken weak man?  How could Rahul, who ran away with someone's wife thought that he could actually nurse his anger for the poor husband, as he was 'possessive' about his wife and 'doubted her' too much?! Or was that he defense mechanism?!

Things, first were not seen from Indian society's point of view, where eloping with a man doesn't entitle you to any right to be angry with anyone, no matter what.  A girl has shamed everyone, if she just runs away like that.  An educated woman like her could have fought for herself, instead of running away.  And second, about the style of writing, it should not have been the recollection of  thoughts by a man when the author was a woman.

Overall, a very touching read... it melts your heart.... keeps you connected with it.  It weaves the story very well, giving full chance for all the characters to make a mark in the story line.  You can't finish reading this book without shedding a tear or too!

take care


PS : Thanks friend for lending me this book for so long!

That Girl In Yellow Boots

September 15, 2011
Just watched the movie "That Girl In Yellow Boots" (TGIYB) which basically was a Kalki Koechlin movie, directed by her husband Anurag Kashyap.  I have to tell that I missed the first 15 minutes of the movie after getting stuck in the bad Delhi traffic.  I had already read about it and then quickly caught up with friends about the story line.

Kalki Kochelin 

I never write movie reviews, because I don't think I have any expertise in doing that. I don't have the expertise to comment on some one's labour of love!

I only write about how I felt about watching the movie and afterwards.  Well, to begin with, I feel I went with huge expectations (doesn't mean that they were not met at all) I think, thankfully, the Indian audience is getting the taste of some refined delicacies.  Earlier, one had to classify movies as "Art" or "Masala" to know what it would be like.  But now, there's a mix breed of movies, a completely new genre of movies which are narrated from the point of view of an ordinary urban man or woman ; which not necessarily be big budget but will move you with its honesty of expression.  

I have written about the  movie  "Dhobi Ghat" and I feel this movie TGIYB  falls in the same genre... the amalgamated form of story telling and movie making.  It makes you look at things as they are, how they are and where they are.  They bring out the filth and dirt on the large screen without being labelled as a documentary film or an art cinema.  They just show things and stay away from preaching anything to the audience.  

The movie is based in Mumbai ( Please some one make movies on Delhi ! It's versatile in texture and feel).  The story revolves around a poor girl searching for her father in India, working at a massage parlour (and you know what that means.... in Indian context), falling in all wrong hands and getting exploited by everyone.  You face a big shock at the end..... you are left asking questions... there are too many unanswered questions in the movie. 

Watch it for the good acting of Kalki.  She has done full justice to her role in the movie. Avoid it if you are salivating by seeing the Censor Board's "A" on it because there's nothing for you there.  Expression was symbolic mostly, so wasn't really vulgar except for a few terms used.

Another that struck me is that she has been portrayed as a very courageous and determined girl.  But the brutality of the world around has been shown in dim light.  She could have suffered badly, worse than what she faced now.  But surprisingly she was spared by a lot of trouble possible for a single and foreigner girl in a big merciless city.

Also, a few questions which am not able to find any answer are lurking in my mind... as to what stopped her mother to tell about the abusive father, whom she came searching to India? So I can say the story was not very very well spun, but definitely a class apart from some of the bollywood no-brainers!  

The movie brings to the fore certain societal issues, which I don't think are very relevant to Indian society.  It talks of incest. Now, I don't think incest between a father and a daughter is common in Indian context.  Familial ties and bonding and above that the basic set of moral responsibilities still act as a dominating factor even when parents and children and siblings share close and cramped living space in India.  So, somehow I felt this was a foreign element to Indian scenario.

Overall, a good movie for the one's who like to watch something less entertaining and more meaningful. But honestly, I'm not awed by it! Or may be I expected a lot lot more from it.


Stray Thoughts

September 8, 2011
I was clueless as to what should be the title of this post.  

To begin with, I wanted to write why I have gone quiet, in blogging. But the happenings around us affect us so much (especially when it is a bomb blast in your city) that I can't stop myself for speaking about it. 

Delhi experienced yet another bomb blast yesterday at the Delhi High Court, the heart of the city area and at a time when the security was already there due to the Parliament session.  But no avail for the common man.  The bomb ripped through many lives and many families.  The pain is indescribable.  What does a common man do? Should he learn to live in fear, constant fear... not knowing whether he'll return to his home safe in the evening or not?  There were a lot of discussions going on, on the TV yesterday.  I really wish something concrete comes out of the discussions, debates and statements issued.

My heart goes out to all the innocent people, common people like you and me who lost their lives and or got injured due the bomb blast yesterday.

Coming to myself, I am experiencing the phase of my life when all I want is to be quiet.  I don't want to speak, or express what I think or feel.  At times in life, you have to be really silent to hear what others are saying. Or may be, I should say, at times, you want to sit down and analyze as to where are you heading? what are you  up to? how correct you were in your choices and more importantly, how correct you were in following a certain ideology for leading your life?  Now is the time for me. I'm in doubt... about my beliefs, belief systems.

I think the best way, I think, a person can deal with this mental state is to - speak to a friend, get a clear and honest feedback.  Second, to slow down and pull out of the situation which is troubling you.  And thirdly, do some self analysis, and if that hurts a lot,  rejuvenate yourself by things like listening to music or reading good books or anything which soothes you.  

I'm undergoing the phase, which I've gone through earlier too. I'm questioning myself and unlearning a few things, to make way for something new to be learned. So, I know, it's toughening me and sculpting me for better. Better - only to make me fitter to survive in the world where it pays to be fake and street smart.  Although, this is surely not my destination, but I guess, I'll HAVE to pass through this stretch.
Have you ever questioned your choices? your beliefs? Have you  ever felt forced to evaluate as to what went wrong when your intentions were not bad in dealing with a person or a situation in personal life or in work life?

Do share your honest thoughts...


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